Students Present "Forest to Pharmacy" Exhibit at Philadelphia Flower Show

March 3, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

Pharmacy is in bloom at the University of Delaware's (UD) exhibit at this year's Philadelphia Flower Show.

Pharmacy is in bloom at the University of Delaware’s (UD) exhibit at this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show.

With a focus on edible and therapeutic Amazonian plants, UD is presenting its “Forest to Pharmacy” exhibit at the world’s largest indoor flower show through March 8, 2015.

Pharmacy students and faculty members involved in the show told UDaily that they wanted to showcase the Amazon’s abundance of resources for medical ailments.

“[I]n the pharmaceutical industry, a lot of medications that we use, and even some potential cancer-fighting drugs, come from plant compounds found in the Amazon,” teaching assistant Paige Gugerty told UDaily. “It’s really important to preserve the Amazon because of those plant compounds and the different medicinal and religious uses of what is found there.”

UD’s comprehensive list of plants totaled around 450, including bromeliads, gingers, banana palms, orchids, and cocoa, according to UDaily.

“What we want people to walk away with is that everything is connected and that our reliance on medicines derived from tropical plants reminds us to support education and research in products that help conserve and sustain these ecosystems,” Jules Bruck, associate professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, told UDaily.

Bruck also warned that as forest ecosystems are degraded, there will be lost opportunities to study species, as well as how indigenous tribes use medicinal plants.